NEW DELHI: In front of a packed cricket stadium in sweltering Dubai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took several swipes at Pakistan for its support for terror groups that target India, stating that era of “good taliban, bad Taliban” was over and everyone had to take a stand whether they were “for terrorism or with humanity”.
At the end of his two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates on Monday, Modi addressed his biggest audience ever outside India – larger than his first speech to overseas Indians at New York in Madison square garden in September 2014.
Around 50,000 Indians waited for more than four hours for his speech, which was described as the biggest ever non-sport event in the gulf nation.
He lingered on the issue of terrorism for a bit in his speech, saying that India was very well familiar with this menace. “At one time, other people used to say that it is a issue of policing. Only now everybody recognizes it is threat,” he said.
“Good Taliban, Bad Taliban...Good Terrorism, Bad Terrorism...this won’t work anymore. A decision has to be taken are you with terrorism or with humanity,” he said during his 70-minute long speech at the Dubai international cricket stadium.
This was, of course, a thinly-veiled reference to Pakistan, which has always made a distinction between jihadi groups, based on whether latter targets India or not. Besides, in less than a week, Indian and Pakistani national security advisors will be sitting down together to talk about terrorism.
Modi’s word resonated even more as he spoke from United Arab Emirates, which had good relations with Pakistan, but has been strained recently over the latter’s refusal to join the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen.
Modi specifically mentioned that the joint statement showed that that India and UAE have a clear message against terrorism “without caring for anyone”.
In a jibe at Pakistan, he said without taking any country’s name, "Samajhnewale samajh jayengey (Those who need to understand will do so). Akalmand ko Ishara kafi hai (The intelligent only need a hint)".
At the same time, Modi mentioned that dialogue is the only solution to any issue – though he mentioned it in the context of recently announced new Naga peace accord.
Later, he noted that Pakistan has been a roadblock in the development of connectivity projects in SAARC. “If someone has a problem.. fine, we will gone without you,” he said, again without taking Pakistan’s name.
He began his speech by praising the diaspora, as well as Dubai, terming them as “mini India” and “mini world” respectively.
“Sanctions were put on India after the nuclear tests. That time, Vajpayee ji had asked Indians all over the world to help the nation. Responding to Atal ji's call, the role played by those working in the Gulf was exemplary. I can say proudly that when Vajpayee called for help, the Indian labourers in UAE helped the most,” he said.
There are around 2.6 million Indians in UAE, who remit over $12 billion to India annually.
He spoke a few lines in Malayalam to greet the Indians from Kerala, noting that they were celebrating New year festival today.
Modi also asked the big crowd to give a standing ovation to the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince allotting land for a temple.
“Innocent people are killed in the name of religion. In such a time, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince has allotted land for a temple for the Indian community. This is a big decision, a big gift,” he said.
The PM said that his short visit had created a “bridge of trust” between the two countries, “which will help generations into the future”.